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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 7: Self-Resisted "M" Belly Breathing

Updated: May 19

Purpose: To create a negative pressure vacuum to stimulate drainage of the deep lymphatic vessels that reside in the abdomen

What It Targets: Drainage of the Deep Lymphatic Nodes of the abdomen


  1. Lay on your back with knees either flat or bent up, whatever is most comfortable

  2. Inhale deeply, focusing on filling your belly up with the air from the inhale.

***Please note this is NOT how we want you breathing at all times and this is

strictly for this technique with the intention of creating a negative pressure vacuum

  1. Place one hand over the other and rest them in the center of your belly

  2. Press both hands into your belly with firm pressure during a strong inhale, focusing on breathing into the resistance created by your hands with each breath. Relax hands completely Repeat for two breaths

  3. Repeat this sequence for 18 total breaths, 2 in each position in the following sequence: Center, Top Left under ribs, Bottom Left above pelvis, Top Left under ribs, Center, Top Right under ribs, Bottom Right above pelvis, Top Right under ribs, Center

  4. Follow up with other MLD techniques as prescribed

Main Cues:

  • Fill belly with air during the INHALE

  • Breathe into the resistance provided by your hands on the INHALE

  • Relax your hands completely during the EXHALE

  • Get every morsel of air out of your lungs on the EXHALE

  • Provide as much resistance as possible without abdomen pain, or inability to breathe into resistance

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Filling the chest with air rather than the belly

Correction: Start with a few warm-up breaths with hands resting on your belly and do not start the technique and add resistance until you feel your hands rise

  • Breath holding on the inhale

Correction: Exhale as soon as you reach your limit of inhale

  • You mess up the sequence on a breath

Correction: Repeat the breath so you achieve two successful resisted inhales at each of the 9 points

Why We Love It:

  • Stimulates the large deep lymphatics in the abdomen to make for a more successful MLD treatment overall

  • Promotes parasympathetic nervous system activity, or “rest and digest” mode

  • Increases lung capacity

  • Increase core motor control and endurance

*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.

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Burlington, MA 01803

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